PMQs: Boris Johnson claims Marcus Rashford is 'more effective' leader than Keir Starmer
- Credit: Parliamentlive.tv
Boris Johnson has claimed that Marcus Rashford was a better leader at holding the government to account than Sir Keir Starmer, in a fiery Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs) session which saw the prime minister rebuked for mistruths.
Johnson said no one was happy with the images of inadequate school meal parcels that have surfaced over the past 24 hours when he made the comment.
"They are appalling and an insult to the families that have received them and I'm grateful, by the way, to Marcus Rashford, who highlighted the issue and is doing quite an effective job in comparison with the right honourable gentleman [Sir Keir] in holding the goverment to account."
He continued: "As a result of this government, we will make sure that no child goes hungry because of the privations of this pandemic."
Sir Keir shot back, citing government guidance on the assembly of school meal packages.
"The prime minister says they are disgraceful but it shouldn't have taken social media to shame the prime minister into action," the Labour leader asserted.
"Like the education sector, he blames others and he invites me to hold him to account, so let me do that, because blaming others, Mr Prime Minister, is not as simple as that."
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He continued: "I've checked the government guidance for free school meals, published by the department for education.
"It sets out an example parcel for one child for five days. One load of bread, two baked potatoes, block of cheese, baked beans, three individual yoghurts. Sound familiar?
"That's the images you just called disgraceful."
Sir Keir said there were only minor additions separating real packages to what was being advised on the government's website.
"He blames others but this is on his watch. The truth is that families come last under this government, whether it's exams, free school meals, or childcare."
Johnson drew the ire of the Commons speaker when he called Sir Keir's statement "hypocritical and absurd".
"I'm sorry but I don't think anyone's a hypocrite in this chamber and I think we need to be a little bit careful about what we're saying to each other," Sir Lindsay Hoyle interjected.
"Please, let's keep discipline in this chamber and respect for each other.
"We're tidying up how this parliament behaves and I'd certainly expect the leadership of both parties ensures that takes place."
Johnson responded: "I would like to confine my absurdity to the right honourable gentleman attacking us over free school meals when it was a Conservative government who instituted free school meals and not a Labour government."
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